MMO Guild Drama: How to Prevent it and Deal with it When it Happens
If you play an MMO, then you've probably encountered your fair share of guild drama. Here's an article that explains the two keys to preventing drama and effectively dealing with it when it comes up.
Loot Distribution is a Predictable Source of Drama
I just typed /gquit in World of Warcraft last night, and so did four of my friends. You may be wondering how someone who just quit her own guild could offer any advice on how to avoid guild drama. Well, hindsight is 20/20, and I’m here to offer you insight on how prevent it from happening to you, and fix it before you have to /gquit your own guild over drama.
I’ve been involved in online groups for more than 10 years now, from MMO guilds, to message board communities, to online role-playing groups. If this isn’t your first stroll around the Internet, then I’m sure you already know that whenever you mix a bunch of people together online, something dramatic is bound to occur. It is the nature of the Internet beast.
The key to preventing drama is two fold: clear expectations and open communication from the very beginning. While you can’t always prevent actual crazy people from starting trouble, you can at least work with the relatively reasonable people within your group from the beginning, in order to stop problems from developing later on. If you're already in a guild dealing with drama, I assure you that it isn't always too late to make a change, but it will definitely be harder than if you are starting from scratch.
Here’s a perfect example of where drama can happen: Loot distribution. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been involved in guild drama because of loot. Before you form a guild in an MMO, you absolutely have to spell out your policies and rules…especially when it comes to loot. Don’t assume people will operate based on “common sense." Everyone is different, and we all know not everyone on the internet actually has commons sense. Spell it out. Even if you are all friends in real life (trust me on this one). Write down the rules, and have members agree to them before you ever step inside an instance or a raid. The worst thing you can do is discuss it after the items drop. If people have been given explicit expectations for loot (or for anything in a guild), then there shouldn’t be any griping when it comes time to hand it out. If there is, refer them to the agreement that they said they’d abide by.
Open Communication in Guilds Can Save the Day
It isn’t always enough to set clear expectations for players. Sometimes you do have to mediate and get involved in others’ drama. Here’s where open communication comes in. Don’t let people stew about it for a few days. Don’t let people bottle it up and then explode. Have a policy of open communication from the beginning. Let people know that they can discuss the situation with the guild officers. The key here is to keep a level head, and have productive conversations. Just think about it: if you’re a player looking for a guild to join, and have to decide between one with a mouthy guild leader who only knows how to yell at people, vs. a guild with a leader who is calm and conversational with the members, who are you going to choose? Which guild is probably going to run smoother with lower player turn over?
Guild drama will always exist in some form, but you can prevent a lot of it from ever starting. And when it does come up, remember that cool heads need to prevail in order to keep the drama contained, and eventually get it extinguished. Drama free is the way to be my friends. And besides, it is just a game.